Trip to Gardez, 3-4 April 2005
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Background
Kabul
Driving in Kabul
Leaving Kabul
Roads
On to Gardez
DDR
Gardez Camps
Fortresses
Sp Forces
Marriage
Random Thoughts
Conclusion

 

Special Forces camp at Zurmat  

After breakfast on the second day we joined a few HMMWVs leaving on a routine patrol, then broke off to reach the small US Special Forces camp outside Zurmat. We spent the morning there, the OMC-A officers evaluating food services, me walking around.  

This camp is an operational base from where our Special Forces (and probably CIA, Navy Seals, etc) go out and gather information, conduct raids, arrest or kill the enemy, to include one day, we all hope, bin Laden. It’s the type of camp Pat Tillman probably worked out of before his tragic death two years ago.  

The US SF soldiers we saw at the camp all had long hair and beards (if brown and blonde, not the Afghan black), and appeared to have spent a lot of time in the gym. The camp includes some Marines and ANA soldiers, and is probably typical of many camps scattered through the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, across from Pakistan where the Taliban are still holed up and determined to return to power.  

The Taliban threat is illustrated by another report from mid-April: “In Andar Ghazni, one of the bodyguards for the Police Chief in Zabul Province was killed recently and put to rest in an area near his home. His body was later dug up, dismembered and littered with Taliban literature that stated ‘If you support Coalition Forces, this is what will happen.’ There was an emergency security meeting held by the governor. His plan is to ….” 

We found it interesting that Zurmat camp’s shower and latrine facilities were first rate, their mess hall cozy like a large kitchen. When these guys leave camp, they really rough it. When they get back, they’re entitled to a little pampering.  

The Battle Update Brief at Gardez and the Special Forces camp at Zurmat helped me better understand and value the mission in Afghanistan. I also saw more clearly the importance, if minor and in support, of my own job back at CFC-A headquarters in Kabul.  

Returning to Kabul from Zurmat, we retraced our route. Coming down the pass from Gardez we passed a group of nomads and their animals along the side of the road.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few miles later we saw more nomads in the fields, lying outside their tents, their sheep, donkeys and camels grazing on the new grass under a bright blue sky, many lambs, foals, and calves among them. Not a bad life, to be a nomad in the spring when the weather is good and your animals healthy.

 

next: Marriage in Afghanistan